Talking toilets & airbags for the elderly: 5 ways CES got weird

By Oliver Smith 12 January 2018
Image: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images.

The weird and the wonderful.

Strange things have been happening in Las Vegas this week.

CES is among the world’s biggest and most important technology conferences, and this week brought us a glimpse of the future with innovations like LG’s newly-announced TV that can be rolled up into a box or the return of Aibo, Sony’s iconic robotic dog.

But today we’re casting an eye over another part of CES, with a look at the more weird and bizarre products that were unveiled this week.

Here are 5 of the strangest:

1) Elderly airbags

Falls can be fatal for the elderly, but is an airbag the answer?

Hip’Air certainly thinks so. Its wearable airbag is designed to inflate when it senses a fall and take 90% of the impact from hitting the ground.

It’s going to cost a whopping €600, has to be recharged weekly, and looks utterly ridiculous.

Good luck selling the grandparents on that one.

2) UV fingernails

Always forgetting the suncream? L’Oreal might have the solution to keep you burn-free next summer.

A tiny 2mm wearable with a UV sensor which can be worn on a fingernail, and buzzes your smartphone if it’s time to cover up.

L’Oreal claims the UV Sense device is reusable, can be placed anywhere (like on your trainers if you’re a runner), and should cost $40 or less when it launches in 2019.

3) A talking toilet

Kohler has made high-end, high-tech toilets for years, but at CES this week they unveiled the $6,400 Numi toilet… which can talk.

Not only does Numi have coloured lighting, a heated seat, foot warmer and a “bidet spray configuration”, but it also responds to your voice.

With the power of Amazon’s voice assistant you can literally say “Alexa, lift the toilet seat” or “Alexa, flush the toilet”, and Numi will obediently obey.

4) Foldimate

This photocopier-sized machine looks ungainly and will cost nearly $1,000 when it arrives in late 2019, but what it claims to do is rather impressive.

Hand Foldimate clean, ironed laundry and it’ll turn shirts, skirts, towels and trousers into neatly folded piles of clothes.

If it wasn’t outrageously expensive and huge, it might actually be a good idea.

5) The robotic cat

Our friends at Somnox are at CES this week showing off their pretty bizarre breathing ‘robotic cat’.

If you missed it, Somnox is a ‘sleep robot’ that you’re supposed to cuddle or spoon at night-time.

It has its own ‘breath’, rising and falling at regular intervals, and even a built-in speaker that can support sleep with the sounds of rainfall or white noise (no purring though).

Read more: CES 2018 – What NOT to expect at this groundbreaking tech show